By Dylan Tehada
Just a month after the NBA draft, the 2023 NBA Summer League kicked off in Las Vegas, Nevada. All the new young talent in the league including eight players who have trained with Coach Packie Turner made their professional debuts. The Summer league wrapped up on Monday, July 17th and now these fresh faces of the NBA will be focusing on their offseason work going into the regular season which begins later in the fall. We are so proud of the players who made their debut this summer and are looking forward to seeing their contributions to their respective teams this upcoming season.
After being taken 20th in the NBA Draft, Whitemore clearly played with a chip on his shoulder in this year’s Summer League, but ended up winning the Summer League MVP award, earning first team honors, and leading the Houston Rockets to the Summer League championship game. He led the team by averaging 19.3 points per game and showcasing his elite athleticism that made him one of the most coveted prospects in the draft. In addition to his high volume scoring, Whitmore showcased his knack for rebounding tallying 32 total boards in 6 games and displaying his defensive instincts averaging just over 2 steals a game and racking up a whopping 8 steals in a single game. Whitmore has proven that he will be an important piece in the Houston Rockets rebuild, and will be looking to build off of his strong Summer League performance this upcoming season.
After being taken with the 51st overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, Jalen Wilson showcased the well rounded skill set that made him one of the most decorated players in the University of Kansas’ basketball program during this year's Summer League. He led the team by averaging 17.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game in addition to shooting the three ball at 45.8% in 5 appearances. These efforts paid major dividends as Wilson earned 2023 Summer League second team honors and led the Brooklyn Nets to the Summer League semifinals. Jalen Wilson will be looking to maintain his impressive production this upcoming season playing for the Brooklyn Nets.
After his first and only year at the University of Kansas and being taken with the 13th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, Gradey Dick showcased his scoring potential and elite shooting ability in this year's Summer League. Dick averaged 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game and clearly showed that he brings more to a team than just being an elite three point shooter. At just 19 years old, Dick has plenty of room for growth and time to develop other aspects of his game, and he will be looking to do just that with the Toronto Raptors in this upcoming season.
After being drafted with the 8th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, Jarace Walker showcased his versatility on both sides of the ball in this year’s Summer League. The dominant forward averaged 14.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, and 1.3 steals per game. Despite his size, Walker played both roles of a rim protector and a point forward initiating the offense. In addition to his high IQ and versatility, Walker showed a great deal of energy and tenacity while on the court and seeks to bring that same mindset while playing for the Indiana Pacers this upcoming season.
After being drafted with the 6th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, Anthony Black showcased his elite height at the point guard position and displayed his well rounded skill set in this years’ Summer League. The former Arkansas Razorback filled the stat sheet by averaging 11 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 4 assists a game in just three appearances. While reflecting on his Summer League performance, Black noted that he is going to work on his strength in the offseason to pair with his balanced skill set and height at the guard deposition. Black will be an integral piece of a young Orlando Magic squad and will be looking to make his impact felt this upcoming season.
After being drafted with the 55th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, Isaiah Wong made great strides as a young guard for the Indiana Pacers’ Summer League team. During Summer League, Wong showcased all the skills that made him successful at the University of Miami and averaged 11.8 points, 1.4 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game. He also shot the ball at a high percentage from three shooting 40% behind the line. After his improvement and production in the Summer League, Wong signed a two-way contract with the Pacers and will be looking to make an impact at the guard position this upcoming season in Indiana.
After being drafted with the 19th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, Brandin Podziemski brought his high basketball IQ and relentless mindset to the Golden State Warriors Summer League team. During the Summer, Podziemski filled the statsheet by averaging 8.6 points, 6 assists, and 6.8 rebounds per game. Despite low shooting percentages, Podziemski made his presence felt on both the offensive and defensive boards and was vocal on both sides of the ball. Podziemski will be looking to bring his high energy and savvy basketball IQ to the Golden State Warriors this upcoming season after a well rounded Summer League performance.
After being drafted with the 33rd overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft and spending last season with GLeague Ignite, Leonard Miller put on a very impressive showing during the Summer League this year. His experience in the GLeague seemed to pay off this summer as he averaged 15.4 points, 8 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game. Miller showcased a unique guard-like skill set for a 6’10’’ forward and exceeded expectations during his 5 appearances. Miller will be looking to build upon his strong start to his NBA career and will be an intriguing young talent for the Minnesota Timberwolves this upcoming season.